Hepatobiliary resections are among the most complex and technically challenging surgical procedures. Even though robust evidence showed that complex surgical procedures such as hepatobiliary surgery have better short- and long-term outcomes and lower mortality rate when performed in high-volume centers, the minimal criteria of centers that can perform hepatobiliary activity are not clearly defined. We conducted a retrospective population study of patients who underwent hepatobiliary surgery for malignant disease in a single Italian administrative region (Veneto) from 2010 to 2021 with the aim to investigate the hospitals annual surgical volume for hepatobiliary malignant diseases and the effect of hospital volume on in-hospital, 30- and 90-day postoperative mortality. The centralization process of hepatobiliary surgery in Veneto is rapidly increasing over the past 10 years (rate of performed in highly specialized centers increased from 62% in 2010 to 78% in 2021) and actually it is really established. The crude and adjusted (for age, sex, Charlson Index) mortality rate after hepatobiliary surgery resulted significantly lower in centers with high-volume activity compared to them with low-volume activity. In the Veneto region, the "Hub and Spoke" model led to a progressive centralization of liver and biliary cancer treatment. High surgical volume has been confirmed to be related to better outcomes in terms of mortality rate after hepatobiliary surgical procedures. Further studies are necessary to clearly define the minimal criteria and associated numerical cutoffs that can help define the characteristics of centers that can perform hepatobiliary activities.
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